Archive for August, 2010
I find it interesting that Matthew presents the genealogy of Jesus in the fist part of his book. Matthew’s focus in writing was to reach those of Jewish background, specifically Jewish converts to Christianity.
I read in my study Bible about why this was important, and I’m sure some of you have heard this before. But, I thought it important enough to pass on this morning.
“Matthew is very concerned to present Jesus as the son of David…Moreover, he carefully arranges the generations in each of the three groups so that they number fourteen. Not only is this an especially sacred number, because it is twice seven or sabbath, but, more important, it is the numerical equivalent of the name of David, the Great King! That is, the Hebrew letters which spell the name of David (and which also stand for numbers in hebrew) add up to fourteen. this intricate arrangement of the genealogical table can hardly be accidental. It is matthew’s way of emphasizing that jesus is the promised Son of David, fulfilling the Messianic prophesies.”
Seems Matthew had a thing for special meanings, maps and numbers – as you may have seen in David Murrow’s book, “The Map“.
The message for me lies in how Matthew found his audience and presented his testimony in a language they could understand. It makes me rethink who is “my audience” for my testimony. What am I doing to present the gospel in a language they can understand? Am I even thinking about that? I am now!
The saga of David continues – an amazing story (that should be a movie, if you don’t mind me saying!)
In this chapter, we see that no matter how they tried to kill him, God protected David – in spite of all that David had done. Because of his heart and because he cried out for forgiveness, the Lord remained faithful. This is not to say that David’s sin didn’t cause consequences for him and his family (and the whole nation!). Au contraire! It did. Just like sin does for us today. But, the encouragement from this chapter is that God will still protect us.
Look at verse 14:
14 Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.
See that? “For the LORD had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel…”
God made the “good advice” from Ahithophel irrelevant with confusion from Husai the Arkite. As a result, the plans to kill and overthrow David were undone.
If God is for us…
The message I received today from this chapter is to be careful with whom I form alliances.
King David was sending a peaceful delegation to express his sorrow to the Ammonites since their king had died. Years earlier the king had showed kindness to David.
However, some of the Ammonite nobles whispered to the king’s son, Hanun, that David was only sending men to spy on them so they could overthrow them.
Listening to this evil counsel, Hanun seized David’s men and humiliated them and sent them back with half-shaven beards and hospital gowns. Not a wise move.
Ultimately, this led to war.
Now, Hanun hired soldiers from Aramea, Rehob, Zobah, Maacah and Tob.
…and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. [b] He also struck down Shobach the commander of their army, and he died there. 19 When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.
It might have been better for those who came to fight for Hanun to stay home that day.
Better yet, this could have all been avoided had Hanun not listened to his nobles with their suspicious whispers.
I think it all goes back to asking God before doing anything – which we see David doing, especially in his early years.
Lord, help us to follow the path you have for us today – not listening to gossip or our own paranoid or selfish whispers. You ordain our steps, Lord. Help us to seek your counsel for each decision.
In chapter 9 of 2 Samuel, we see David reaching out to “the house of Saul” – yes the same Saul who spent the last weeks an months of his life trying to kill David. It was for the sake of Saul’s son, Jonathan, of course.
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
He found that Jonathan had a son who was crippled in both feet and what’s worse, a horrible name: Mephibosheth.
Anyway – David granted this young man land and servants and livestock and invited him to eat at the king’s table.
9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
Can you imagine what Phibby was thinking? One day, he’s a “dead dog” and the next, he’s a wealthy land owner dining at the king’s table.
Sounds a lot like my story when God got a hold of me!
Thank God for His grace.
This is a great chapter in David’s story.
First, they’re returning the Ark to Jerusalem – just as it should be, right?
Then, the wheel on the cart falls off and the men innocently try and catch the ark and stop it from falling on the ground. Oops – not supposed to touch the ark – and they’re killed. God’s mad.
So, David thinks – it’s too risky to bring the Ark into Jerusalem! So, he leaves it at Obed-Edum’s pad for 3 months. During that time, Mr. Edum gets blessed along with his entire household as a result of the Ark being there.
So, now David thinks – perhaps I SHOULD bring it back home. And he does.
If they’d only have listened to God in the first place, none of this would have had to happen.
Now – my favorite story in this chapter is about David’s wife Michal. She saw him dancing around, praising God like he just didn’t care. She looked out the window and saw everyone gawking at him, making a fool of himself (in her mind). But, David was dancing before God “with all his might” and didn’t care what anyone thought.
When he got back home, she told him what a fool she thought he was – and she was cursed at that instant and never was able to have children.
I love David’s response to Michal:
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
I guess this chapter is all about motives. What was David’s motive for bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem? Did he think it was best because he wanted to please God? Or, did he just bring it there so he and his household could be blessed like Mr. Edum?
When Michal commented as she did at David, was she thinking about how much David loved God and was trying to please God? Or, was she more concerned with what others thought about her husband?
The encouragement here for me is to keep my eyes on pleasing God – and not worry about what anyone else is thinking. Are you willing to be “even more undiginfied” and humiliated to honor and praise God?